Volunteer Midlothian provides a range of services to help organisations develop volunteer programmes and support volunteers. If you want one-to-one advice on any issue involving volunteers, please get in touch.
Want to know how volunteering promotion works in Midlothian? Read our FAQ’s below.
Volunteering FAQs for Organisations
These FAQ’s are arranged with the most frequently asked first.
1. How do potential volunteers find out about opportunities in Midlothian?
People in Midlothian usually find out about volunteering through three main routes:
- By going direct to a local group or organisation and offering to help out. This can also happen through word of mouth or social media promotion.
- By searching for an opportunity on Volunteer Midlothian’s website, or on Volunteer Scotland’s national website, which also promotes local opportunities in Midlothian.
- By signing up for British Red Cross community reserves or NHS volunteering, or by looking on the website of other large national charities such as MacMillan, who operate in the Midlothian area.
2. What are the different ways that volunteering opportunities can be promoted in Midlothian?
The simplest method of promoting any opportunity is to do it informally through word of mouth or on social media. Alternatively, it can be done online through one or more search engines that exist for this purpose. Larger organisations may be able to promote their own opportunities via their own website if they are already well enough known.
If you have a local opportunity that you want to promote in Midlothian, you can register with us to have it promoted on our website on behalf of your organisation. Lots of people in Midlothian look at our website and we are the main route for online promotion of local opportunities. If you are a larger organisation with multiple opportunities that span more than one local authority area, you will need to promote via Volunteering Zone, which is an online platform hosted by Volunteer Scotland.
3. What do I need to do to promote an opportunity with Volunteer Midlothian?
To promote a volunteering opportunity on our website please check that you meet our minimum requirements (see Q.4 below), then complete an Opportunity Form and send it back to our email inbox at Volunteer Midlothian. If this the first time your group or organisation has worked with us you will also need to fill out an Organisation Registration Form. Both forms can be downloaded by clicking the links below.
If you’ve any questions, please contact us to discuss in more detail. We’re here to help. We check our email every day and will try to respond promptly.
4. What are your minimum requirements and why are they necessary?
We do have some minimum requirements that we ask all organisations to meet in order to promote an opportunity with us. First and foremost, the opportunity should have a clear social benefit. Your group or organisation will also need to have the following things in place:
- A recognised structure, such as being a voluntary association, registered charity or SCIO.
- A named contact for the volunteers you will be working with.
- Insurance that covers volunteers.
Any group or organisation working with volunteers should ideally also have a Volunteer Policy, a clear description for each role, and risk-assessments to cover COVID-19 and Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG). If these things are not yet done, it is a good idea to be working towards them.
Proper planning and preparation when working with volunteers can help to ensure a safe and positive experience for everyone involved. We understand that formalising your work with volunteers can seem daunting and we don’t want this to be a barrier to your involvement. Part of our remit is to help build the capacity of local organisations, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more assistance.
Please note: If you are looking for emergency response volunteers in Midlothian, which could include short term initiatives related to COVID-19, please email Lorraine Dilworth at British Red Cross.
5. What if the organisation I work for promotes its own opportunities?
Larger agencies such as the British Red Cross have their own channels for promoting opportunities, although they do promote some volunteer roles via Volunteer Midlothian too, as an extra way of recruiting more people. If you work for a larger organisation on a project that involves volunteers, your opportunity can still be put up on our website, where it will have its own web link that can be shared widely and where more people will see it.
6. I work for Midlothian Council or the NHS, what else do I need to think about?
Most public sector organisations that involve volunteers will have a volunteering policy. If you work for Midlothian Council you can view their volunteering policy here and should familiarise yourself with what it says. Midlothian Council includes Active Schools and Ageing Well, both of which work with volunteers. Similarly, NHS Lothian has its own policies and procedures for volunteer involvement, with a dedicated Voluntary Services team who oversee volunteering at Midlothian Community Hospital. Volunteering within Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership (MHSCP) is overseen by NHS Lothian staff. As of October 2021, there are three projects running to promote further involvement of volunteers within MHSCP services.
7. Is volunteering paperwork necessary?
Volunteering is not a legally defined process in the same way that employment is, but it should be underpinned by certain formalities and ‘paperwork’. Having the correct procedures in place makes volunteering safer for everyone. This is particularly true in the context of COVID-19, but also in relation to GDPR (data protection) and Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG). Good volunteering infrastructure can help to protect volunteers, service users, staff and organisations in the event that something goes wrong. In the case of COVID-19 it will certainly help to reduce the risk of transmission.
8. Are there examples of risk assessments that I can look at?
Yes, you can look at our Good Practice Toolkit for a full range of templates that can be used and adapted as necessary for your project or organisation. One or two of these documents are currently being updated but you can still adapt them as needed. You may also find it interesting to look at Volunteer Edinburgh’s Volunteer Wiki page, which explores many different volunteering related issues from an organisational point of view.
9. Are there any other COVID-19 specific considerations?
The possibility of contracting COVID-19 when volunteering should be discussed with each individual volunteer. If that person has a health condition making them more vulnerable to COVID-19, you could support them to pursue digital, remote or outdoor roles, avoiding indoor face-to-face contact. You may also want to consider using NHS Lothian’s ‘Covid Age’ assessment tool to gauge individual vulnerability to COVID-19. A link to this tool and more information about risk factors can be found in the Scottish Government’s guidance on individual occupational risk (which can be applied to volunteers as well as employees).
10. What is Volunteer Midlothian?
Volunteer Midlothian is the leading agency for volunteering development and promotion in Midlothian. We are are a registered charity and are funded by the Scottish Government to provide:
- Advice and guidance on how and where to volunteer in Midlothian.
- A database of volunteering opportunities.
- Specialist advice for young people, including access to the Saltire Awards scheme.
- Support for organisations to develop volunteering projects and opportunities.
- Information and training on volunteer management.
- Promotion of volunteering opportunities through our website, social media and local networks.
11. Who does Volunteer Midlothian work with?
Volunteer Midlothian is part of the Midlothian Third Sector Interface (TSI). The TSI also consists of Midlothian Voluntary Action (MVA) and the Social Enterprise Alliance Midlothian (SEAM). The TSI provides support and representation for the third sector in Midlothian, which encompasses local community groups and charitable organisations, volunteers and social enterprises. We are one of 32 TSI’s across Scotland. We work closely with other community planning partners including Midlothian Council and the Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership.
12. What else does Volunteer Midlothian do (and not do)?
What we do…
We are a gateway organisation in the sense that we help to connect local volunteers with local opportunities and vice versa. As well as assisting people to find opportunities, we support organisations to achieve good practice when working with volunteers. Most of the opportunities we promote do not ‘belong’ to us because we list them on behalf of other organisations. We also run a few of our own volunteering projects.
At Volunteer Midlothian we understand the ‘bigger picture’ of volunteering in Scotland and represents Midlothian at national networks and events about volunteering. We are also a community planning partner. This means we work closely with other local organisations to help improve opportunities and life chances for people in Midlothian.
What we don’t…
We do not manage volunteers on behalf of other local organisations, unless there is a formal partnership agreement in place. We also don’t have a ready and waiting ‘bank’ of volunteers that we can deploy at the request of other groups or organisations.
13. Who else deals with volunteers in Midlothian?
There are several other organisations that deal directly with volunteers in Midlothian. This includes but is not limited to:
- Mutual aid and neighbourhood groups
- Local charities and constituted voluntary associations
- Larger national charities including the British Red Cross
- Midlothian Council
- Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership
- NHS Lothian
- Community Development Trusts
- Community Councils
14. What other support can Volunteer Midlothian offer?
We are happy to discuss individual requests for support from organisations and may be able to provide bespoke training. Just email us with any requests and we’ll get back to you to chat in more detail.